Makin’ it to the big stage

Hol­lo­man makes high­light plays in G-Day spring game

The Covington News - - SPORTS & LIVING - GABRIEL STOVALL gsto­vall@cov­news.com

ATHENS — Ac­cord­ing to sec­ond year Ge­or­gia foot­ball coach Kirby Smart, the rea­son why 66,000-plus fans came out on a Satur­day to watch a glo­ri­fied spring prac­tice is to be en­ter­tained by a high oc­tane pass­ing game.

And with quar­ter­backs Ja­cob Ea­son and fresh­man Jake Fromm throw­ing for over 500 yards in Satur­day’s an­nual G-Day Spring Foot­ball game — a 25-22 Red Team win over the Black Team — it was a day where most peo­ple got what they wanted.

In­cluded in that list of pleased peo­ple is for­mer New­ton High star and Bull­dogs fresh­man J.J. Hol­lo­man.

The 6-foot-5 wide­out — a for­mer fourstar re­cruit­ing prospect — cre­ated his own cache of high­light reel plays in his first col­le­giate ac­tion in some­thing close to game-like con­di­tions. In fact, it didn’t take long at all for Hol­lo­man to show off his big play abil­ity.

Hol­lo­man’s first catch of the day was good enough to also give him his first touch­down. It hap­pened at the 10:56 mark of the sec­ond quar­ter when Hol­lo­man got free on his route and was found streak­ing down the left side­line by fel­low fresh­man quar­ter­back Jake Fromm.

Fromm hooked up with Hol­lo­man on a 43-yard scor­ing strike that gave the Red squad a 7-3 lead. A cou­ple of drives later, Hol­lo­man made a bit of a circus grab when Fromm threw a lit­tle hitch route to him to­ward that same side­line.

This time, Hol­lo­man — draped by a de­fender — reached out and grabbed the ball, al­most off of the de­fen­sive back’s hel­met. The de­fender tried to wres­tle the ball from Hol­lo­man, but Hol­lo­man held on to the grab and fell out of bounds af­ter a 19 yard pick-up.

Late in the third quar­ter, Fromm would find Hol­lo­man again for a 16 yard grab. And then he scored on a two-point con­ver­sion catch af­ter Fromm’s 70-yard touch­down pass to fresh­man wide­out Tyler Simmons at the 3:48 mark of the fourth quar­ter.

It was a per­for­mance that seemed to con­firm Hol­lo­man’s choice to forgo his last se­mes­ter at New­ton High in or­der to en­roll early at Ge­or­gia to get a leg up on a bevy of tal­ented re­ceivers from Smart’s first full re­cruit­ing class.

And Smart wasn’t shy about heap­ing the praise on Hol­lo­man for his Satur­day per­for­mance.

“JJ has had an up and down spring, but he’s been con­sis­tent in his ef­fort and tough­ness,” Smart said. “He’s some­times had some bat­tles catch­ing it, but to­day I thought he did a great job. What a great kid. For him to get re­warded for a great day was re­ally good, be­cause he worked all spring for it.”

Hol­lo­man fin­ished with three catches for 77 yards, be­sides the two-point re­cep­tion. He, along with Simmons — who had five catches for 114 yards and a score — helped

JJ has had an up and down spring, but he’s been con­sis­tent in his ef­fort and tough­ness.” — Kirby Smart, Ge­or­gia head coach

make Fromm’s de­but a solid one.

The fresh­man sig­nal caller from Hous­ton County (Warner Robins) com­pleted 14 of 23 passes for 277 yards and two scores. His in­cum­bent coun­ter­part Ea­son threw for 311 yards, two scores and a pick on 16-of-36 pass­ing. Ea­son reg­u­larly found ju­nior Terry God­win (five catches, 130 yards) and se­nior Javon Wims (four catches, 96 yards) in the pass­ing game for Black team, giv­ing the whole com­pli­ment of Bull­dog re­ceivers a day that was the best Smart had seen from them dur­ing the spring.

“What ya’ll saw to­day was the best show­ing that group has had,” Smart said. “You guys are writ­ing that the re­ceivers saved the world and they’ve been great, whereas I came in con­cerned and dis­ap­pointed in some ball se­cu­rity is­sues. But those guys com­peted to­day. And as a whole, we played more phys­i­cal this spring than we did last spring.”

Smart did try to pull back the reigns on any mass fresh­men takeover of the top spots on Ge­or­gia’s prospec­tive depth chart, as he em­pha­sized the rather vanilla ap- proach the de­fense took against UGA quar­ter­backs to­day.

“We didn’t re­ally play a lot of cover­age mul­ti­ples, and we re­ally sim­pli­fied things on de­fense and just let kids play,” Smart said. “In fact, we prob­a­bly made more lim­i­ta­tions on the de­fense than we did the of­fense. But it was ex­cit­ing to see some balls down the field get­ting thrown and caught. That’s why there are 66,000 peo­ple here be­cause they want to see some balls thrown and caught and some points up on the board.”

Con­ser­va­tive game plan aside, Smart was pleased that his young quar­ter­backs got the chance to per­form in some pres­sure si­t­u­a­tions on Satur­day. He said it’s some­thing he thinks will bode well go­ing into sum­mer and pre­sea­son camp.

What ya’ll saw to­day was the best show­ing that group has had. You guys are writ­ing that the re­ceivers saved the world and they’ve been great, whereas I came in con­cerned and dis­ap­pointed in some ball se­cu­rity is­sues. But those guys com­peted to­day. And as a whole, we played more phys­i­cal this spring than we did last spring.”

— Kirby Smart, Ge­or­gia head coach

An­thony Banks | The Cov­ing­ton News

New­ton alum and Ge­or­gia fresh­man Jeremiah Hol­lo­man hauls in a 43-yard touch­down pass dur­ing Satur­day’s G-Day spring game.

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